This year I’m not going to limit (or push) myself to a certain number. I’m simply going to tell you about my favorite albums of the year. If they came out in 2008 or whatever, it’s fine. These are ones I reviewed this year and liked. A lot. Also forgive me for going on and on about the first one, but it really is spectacular.
Ones I reviewed in 2009
Orange Days on Lemon Street by Lex Land
This is one of those albums I loved from the very first note yet still each time I hear it I love it even more. It’s been in my car for a year now and while I’m sick of every other CD I have in there, this is one I can always pull out and listen to again when I don’t like what’s on the radio.
All We’ve Ever Done is a perfectly written song. It begins quiet and low with simple (gorgeous) vocals and guitar picking. Then as the theme gets more emotional, so does the music. It swells and swells (“and I’m growing tired of fightin’ for something…)until it crashes (“you just don’t wanna do”) and by the time she says, “doooooo” I have tears. It don’t get much better than that. Plus, I heard this one at the grocery store! I nearly fell right down in the frozen foods aisle.
On that song, it’s mostly the music that moves me (though the lyrics are great on all the songs). There are actually a few songs on here that bring tears to my eyes because are so sad.
The song Favorite, I swear, is channeling Jeff Buckley. I can totally imagine him singing this one.
Song in Reverse is my favorite song on here. While I’ve never been in a band with someone I loved, I have been in the situation she describes (in many songs) of being the good friend of the one you’re in love with. When she gets to the part about playing the songs in reverse and making her songs “un-sing themselves” so that things would be different, I’m a goner. Sheesh, I’m getting choked up writing about it.
An album that can move me this much after listening to it solidly for a year is one that I’ll never EVER forget. It’s become a deserted island CD for me.
Bound to Be Mountains by Rachel Garlin
This is another one that’s gotten under my skin. In a good way, of course. I love how each song is a different story, and about different types of people. There’s one about a Jewish girl being sent to the country to live during the war (I assume WW2-Wartime Gig). Then there’s the country-people love story (Brokedown House).
We have at least two good wedding songs as well as a divorce song (Neighborhood Bar). When she sings “let’s forget the paperwork and just call it a fight…” I get a chill.
Her voice is lovely and fun to sing along with and she has crafted a bunch of great story songs that are a pleasure to listen to again and again.
The Battler by Gregory Douglass
Gregory never steers me wrong. This album is different in that he plays with different styles and rhythms and it really pays off. The title song gives me chills.
Crepusculo by Petracovich
I’d heard of this band before, but hadn’t heard more than a song or two on a compilation or whatnot. I’m glad I finally got this one because it’s fantastic.
Bitch Get Fit by NLX
Loved Natasha’s previous EPs and this is even better. We also did a house concert with her this year (if memory serves, our ONLY concert in 2009.) She’s a fantastic performer (and fun person) and this record is stellar.
Susan Storm’s Ugly Sister and Other Saints and Superheroes by Rachel Taylor Brown
Weird rhythms and dissonant melodies help make this album a real treat. It’s sure to appeal to the geek crowd as it’s about comic book super heroes.
Mnemosyne by Ljova & The Kontraband
Weirdly cool moody stuff with a Russian twist. Lots of interesting rhythms and non-obvious instruments. Not a lot of vocals but what is there is beautiful. It will transport you.
Chinese Leftovers by Sugarplum Fairies
Always great stuff from these guys. The melodies are great and the hushy vocals make me feel so very British when I listen to this.
Electric Butterfly by Sally Doherty
I’ve heard her stuff in the past before and always enjoyed it, but this album really stunned me. I couldn’t stop listening to it for months. Especially on headphones where you can hear all the layers. Her voice is one I want to fall into.
The Robots in Love EP by Beautiful Small Machines
Fun, poppy electronic songs from Bree Sharp and company. I bet you can’t sit still.
Here Come the Vikings by Astrid Williamson
Atmospheric. Great rhythms. Haunting vocals and interesting melodies. Can’t go wrong. I especially like Slake and it’s made it onto one of my car CDs.
Hushaboo by Iris Leu
This is a beautiful record. Reminds me a lot of Sarah McLachlan and you KNOW that’s a great endorsement coming from me.
Tumbledown by Mike Herrera’s Tumbledown
Fun drinking rock. This is a great party album of rocky sing along songs.
Bodega Rose by Kesang Marstrand
Smallish album of great folk songs with catchy melodies.
Love Ire and Song By Frank Turner
Billy Bragg fans take note. Not as political, but the sound is similar. I’m a sucker for an English guy who keeps his accent while singing.
It’s Not Me, it’s You by Lily Allen
Ah Lily. I guess I’m a sucker for an English girl who keeps her accent as well. I want to be friends with her. I’m pretty sure she can show me a good time. I may wake up in a bathtub, but it will be fun. This one’s just a fun and catchy as her Allright, OK.
Anamnesis by Shauna Burns
Beautiful atmospheric pop with dreamy vocals. Can’t go wrong.
Somniloquy by The Endless
Love these guys. Their music is haunting and gorgeous and they’re pretty damn funny people (watch their videos).
Red Rows and Wine Flows by Amanda Mabro
Sexy, cabaret, jazzy fun!
Build me This by Joshua James
I love his voice and he really knows how to create emotion using crescendos and swoops.
Older records I just discovered this year
Kismet by Jesca Hoop
I know, I know, there were so many! It was a great year for music! Here’s to 2010.
Happy Holidays everyone!!